Could This Simple Habit Actually Reduce Cancer and Diabetes by 50%?

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Vitamin D
influences more than 200 genes. This includes genes related to
cancer and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D
affects your DNA through the vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which
bind to specific locations of the human genome.

Reuters reports:

u201CVitamin
D deficiency is a well-known risk factor for rickets, and some
evidence suggests it may increase susceptibility to autoimmune
diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis
and type 1 diabetes, as well as certain cancers and even dementia.u201D

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s
Comments:

Reuters' information
is actually a bit misleading as other scientists have identified
a total of nearly 3,000 genes that are upregulated by vitamin
D. The particular
study referenced above
identified 200 genes affected, but it's
not clear if that is in addition to the ones already identified,
or if they simply confirmed many of the ones found by others.

One thing's
for sure: Vitamin D is one of the major keys for disease prevention
and for optimal health.

The Astonishing
Power of Vitamin D to Transform Your Health

In recent years
vitamin D has emerged as a star of the u201Cvitaminu201D world. For example,
there are currently over
800 studies showing vitamin D's effectiveness against cancer
.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels can literally cut
your risk of several cancers by 50 percent!

Further, middle
aged and elderly people with high levels of vitamin
D could reduce their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes

by 43 percent.

How Does Vitamin
D Do What it Does?

Vitamin D is
actually a u201Cprohormone,u201D which your body produces from cholesterol.
Because it is a prohormone, vitamin D influences your entire body
– receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in
almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones.

So what modern
science has now realized is that vitamin D does more than just aid
in the absorption of calcium and bone formation, it is also involved
in multiple repair and maintenance functions, touches thousands
of different genes, regulates your immune system, and much, much
more.

Just one example
of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your ability
to fight infections, as well as chronic inflammation. It produces
over 200 anti-microbial peptides, the most important of which is
cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic.

This is one
of the explanations for why it's so effective
against colds and influenza
.

In addition,
since vitamin D also modulates (balances) your immune response,
it can prevent an overreaction in the form of inflammation, which
can lead to a variety of autoimmune
disorders, such as Crohn's disease
for example.

When you consider
the fact that you only
have about 25,000 genes in your body
, and vitamin D has been
shown to influence nearly 3,000 of them, the bigger picture of its
true impact on your health can be easily understood.

It may, in
fact, have literally thousands of health benefits!

However, it's
also very clear that unless you have taken specific measures to
address it, the odds are overwhelming that you are deficient in
this important nutrient.

Are You Vitamin
D Deficient?

Vitamin D deficiency
is a growing epidemic across the world and is contributing to many
chronic debilitating diseases. There are a few reasons for this
trend.

First, most
people spend far too much time indoors during daytime hours. You
may also have also been seriously misled
by u201Cexpert'u201D recommendations to avoid all sun exposure
, and
to slather yourself with sunscreen whenever you do go outside. Please
understand that sunscreen will virtually eliminate your body's ability
to produce any vitamin D because it blocks the UVB radiation that
causes your skin to produce it naturally.

As a result,
in the United States the late winter average vitamin D is only about
15–18 ng/ml, which is considered a very serious deficiency
state.

In fact, new
studies show that about 85 percent of the U.S. population is vitamin
D deficient. This is primarily related to the recent appreciation
that your
levels of vitamin D should be MUCH higher than previously thought
.

Consider the
following vitamin D facts:

  • Vitamin
    D deficiency is epidemic in adults of all ages who have increased
    skin pigmentation, such as those whose ancestors are from Africa,
    the Middle East, or India, who always wear sun protection, or
    who limit their outdoor activities.
  • African
    Americans and other dark-skinned people and those living in northern
    latitudes make significantly less vitamin D than other groups.
  • 60 percent
    of patients with type 2 diabetes have vitamin D deficiency.
  • Studies
    showed very low levels of vitamin D among children, the elderly,
    and women.
  • One nationwide
    study of women revealed that almost half of the African American
    women of childbearing age might be vitamin-D deficient.

Winter, when
sun exposure is at its lowest, is the time of year when you need
to be most concerned about the amount of vitamin D you are receiving,
as your vitamin D levels can drop by up to 50 percent in the winter.

Of course,
if you have the tendency to spend the summer months indoors, out
of the sun, or you only go outside with sunscreen on, then you would
need to be concerned during the summer months as well.

The Many Health
Benefits of Vitamin D

It's absolutely
tragic that dermatologists and sunscreen manufacturers have done
such a thorough job of deterring people from the sun – your
optimal source for natural vitamin D.

Their widely
dispersed message to avoid the sun as much as possible, combined
with an overall cultural trend of spending more time indoors during
both work and leisure time, has greatly contributed to the widespread
vitamin D deficiency seen today – which in turn is fueling
an astonishingly diverse array of common chronic diseases, including:

Cancer

Hypertension

Heart
disease

Autism

Obesity

Rheumatoid
arthritis

Diabetes
1 and 2

Multiple
Sclerosis

Crohn's
disease

Cold
& Flu

Inflammatory
Bowel Disease

Tuberculosis

Septicemia

Signs
of aging
Dementia

Eczema
& Psoriasis
Insomnia

Hearing
loss

Muscle
pain
Cavities

Periodontal
disease

Osteoporosis

Macular
degeneration
Reduced
C-section risk

Pre
eclampsia
Seizures

Infertility

Asthma

Cystic
fibrosis
Migraines

Depression

Alzheimer's
disease

Schizophrenia

Vitamin D
Against Cancer

A
study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D
., internationally recognized
research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30 percent
of cancer deaths – which amounts to 2 million worldwide and
200,000 in the United States – could be prevented each year
with higher levels of vitamin D.

Other studies
showed that you can decrease
your risk of cancer by more than half simply by optimizing your
vitamin D levels
with sun exposure.

Vitamin
D has a protective effect against cancer in several ways
, including:

  • Increasing
    the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate,
    could lead to cancer)
  • Reducing
    the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
  • Causing
    cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
  • Reducing
    the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which
    is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous

When is the
Best Time to Go Out in the Sun, and for How Long?

The optimal
time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is as near to solar
noon as possible. That would be between roughly 10:00am and 2:00pm.

During this
time you need the shortest exposure time to produce vitamin D because
UVB rays are most intense at this time. Plus, when the sun goes
down toward the horizon, the UVB is filtered out much more than
the
dangerous UVA
.

When you're
out in the sun, be very careful about the length of your exposure.
You only need enough exposure to have your skin turn the lightest
shade of pink. This may only be a few minutes for some. Exposures
any longer than this will not produce any more vitamin D but will
accelerate photo-aging and increase your risk for non-melanoma skin
cancers like basal and squamous cell cancers.

Once you reach
this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D and
any additional exposure will only cause harm and damage to your
skin.

Most people
with fair skin will produce the maximum amount of vitamin D in just
10–20 minutes, or, again, when your skin starts turning the
lightest shade of pink. Some will need less, others more. The darker
your skin, the longer exposure you will need to optimize your vitamin
D production. African-Americans need perhaps 20 percent more sun
exposure time than whites.

And contrary
to popular opinion, your body simply cannot make adequate vitamin
D from the sun unless you have more skin area exposed than just
your face and hands. In fact, at least 40 percent of your body should
be uncovered to optimize your vitamin D production.

Another option
is to use
a safe tanning bed
, again paying attention to not getting burned.

New Way to
Protect Against Sunburn

A few months
ago I found out that a carotenoid extracted from algae called astaxanthin
can be extremely useful in preventing and eliminating sunburn. Interestingly,
this is the antioxidant in krill that prevents it from being damaged.

What current
research is showing is that if you are on 2 mg of astaxanthin for
a month, it becomes very difficult to get sunburned.

Additionally,
it also appears to prevent the development of the most common form
or blindness, age-related macular degeneration, as well as cataracts,
and most likely protects you from EMF when you are flying or being
exposed to diagnostic X-rays.

The key though
is that it takes weeks to build up in your tissues, so you can't
just swallow a few pills prior to your exposure and expect to receive
any benefit. Astaxanthin is also fat-soluble and needs to be taken
with some fat or you simply won't absorb it.

Vitamin D
Supplements: How Much Should You Take?

It is wise
to consider oral vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter months,
or year-round if you haven't time or sufficient access to the sun
or a safe tanning bed.

However, the
Reuter's article above is years behind the research on their recommended
dosage of 1,000 IU's a day

It's true,
there are no definitive studies on the optimal daily dose of vitamin
D, but based on studies on healthy indigenous peoples, many vitamin
D experts now agree that most
adults, including pregnant women, require about 5,000 IU of vitamin
D daily for optimal health
— or 35 IUs of vitamin D
per pound of body weight, which is certainly well above
the current RDA.

That said,
although these recommendations may put you closer to the ballpark
of what most people likely need, it is impossible to make a blanket
recommendation that will cover everyone's needs.

The ONLY way
to determine how much you might need is by testing
your blood level of vitamin D
.

This is in
fact a very important aspect of optimizing your vitamin D levels
that you should not skip over.

Why?

Because while
overdosing on vitamin D from sun exposure is highly unlikely as
your body has a built-in u201Cfailsafeu201D feedback loop, which will tend
to shut down production when your levels are healthy, it IS possible
to overdose when taking supplements.

So you need
to be careful when using oral vitamin D therapy and make certain
you have your blood levels checked. Many of you may choose to ignore
this warning, but I am telling you in no uncertain terms that while
vitamin D has enormous potential for improving your health, it has
significant potential to worsen it, if you use it improperly.

What Vitamin
D Level do You Need to Stay Healthy?

The OPTIMAL
value of vitamin D that you're looking for has recently been raised
to 50–70 ng/ml, with even higher recommended levels required
for more serious disease prevention, as shown in the chart below.
The only caution is to use Lab Corp, as tests done at Quest are
consistently falsely elevated due to a different assay.

I hope you
can see now some of the many benefits of vitamin D, and why it is
so critical to make sure you and your family maintain healthy levels
at all times.

Please take
this opportunity to use one – or more – of the options
I've suggested for getting your daily dose of vitamin D. Optimal
vitamin D, however you get it, can literally make the difference
between a lifetime of chronic disease and one of vibrant health
and vitality.

For even more
information about this essential nutrient, please peruse the links
below.

Related Links:

September
8, 2010

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